Monday, 22 March 2010


(Green Street, W1, London 2010)

I have been struggling regarding my hotspot series about the visual

coherence. I used D300 and it was in 35mm format. Because of the

different looking of different places all in messy surroundings, there

are hardly any good formulated visual codes. I had endeavoured to find

it when shooting and several of the shots included doors which I quite

like as it has some kind of connotation of passing through. Terez

enlightened me to consider crop and format changing. I eventually

chose medium format 6 X 6 and cropped off much unnecessary details.

It changed the visual impact dramatically. However, the Hornsey Lane

Bridge one is not good, as I shot from side rather than from the

middle. This caused the perspective not in line with other shoots. I

planned to re-shoot this one

Saturday, 13 March 2010


(Liverpool Street Station, London 2010; Work in Process)

We had guided independent studies on Photoshop. I tried to work out my mask montage project. With Terez and Pavla’s help, I managed to put mask on hundreds of faces in one of the photos I shot in Liverpool Street Station. I just wanted to see what the visual impact it would be after the masking. The copy and paste was not well done as there are different angles of people’s face and I only got a few mask shots from different angles. There are other details need to be adjusted meticulously such as the shape of the mask against each one’s face, the overlapping mask with hair, etc. It is gonna be lots of work if choose crowds of people to wear them mask. Anyway, I masked most of the people very roughly just to see the visual effect and it looks not too bad. Therefore, I plan to go ahead but probably choose an image with lesser people.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


(Liverpool Street Station, London 2010)

OMG. What an excited locale! There were hundreds of people, if not thousands, jam packed inside Liverpool Street Station when I arrived there at around 17:30. There should be some train delays otherwise it would not be so many people even in rush hour times. The upstairs offered a great vantage point. I started shooting first round at ISO 400 intensively worrying security people might stop me at any time. The crowd were just fabulous and I kind of shot without any conscious. I changed to ISO 800 for the second round worrying blurring due to slow shutter speed as the lens aperture became around 5.6 when I tele zoomed the scene and the light inside is not ideal. Crappy lens (18-200 Nikkor) though convenient. It was a great venue and I wish I could find one shot to be used for the montage project. There are several difficulties in this shooting that might have a detrimental impact on the photos. The colour temperature was very complicated with all kinds of electric lights on so not quite sure of the white balance adjustment afterwards. The high ISO might get too noisy. Shooting was done by instinct with no time to check the image and re-shoot. I did plan to shoot a grand scene with good depiction of environment besides the big crowd. I also planned to shoot a group of people looking up.

I checked the pictures afterwards. ISO 800 quality is acceptable thanks to my D300. There are a few blurred ones, but I quite like one or two of them. One or two shots might be suitable for the montage, but I am not quite satisfied with the composition. I need to edit again the 83 photos and hopefully find the right one to start the masking, not the PS masking, the real one – to wear every one in the crowd a white mask!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


(Canary Wharf Tube Station, London 2010)

I have started shooting for the montage idea. I have chosen, Waterloo Station, Kings Cross Station, and Canary Wharf Station. I would like to catch a crowd looking up to the information panel and shoot right in their faces so I chose these train stations. I choose Canary Wharf because it offers modern glass tower as background. For Waterloo and Kings Cross, it was an instant failure as the faces are all mixed up and overlapped randomly in composition. Secondly there is no theatrical feel in any of the shots due to people’s constant moving and lack of control of framing. I walked around Canary Wharf in and out of station a few times and think it has some potential though. I decided to have the following approaches. I would like to shoot the exit of Canary Wharf when people getting out of the station in rush hours. Since there are only a few lanes, this will make the people visually in order. Rush hour timing will give me the chance to get enough crowds. I also plan to shoot in Liverpool Street Station because there is a first floor landing and it hopefully will offer good vantage point for composition of the crown looking up. I plan to shoot within tomorrow so that I have enough time to work on this or drop this idea to find something else for the project if I can’t realise this original idea to my satisfactory.

Monday, 8 March 2010


(J1.16, London, 2010)

We had a work shop last week and discussed each one’s work book development and montage ideas for the public/private project. I like Cristina’s idea the most. She planned to PS the photo she took on London Bridge with overwhelming crowds dressing in dark suits walking towards the south bank. She took the photo facing south bank. She also planned to PS the office building in south bank to some futurist and modern gigantic ones. She said she was inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and showed some stills of the movie. I knew this movie but never knew the plot until then. My mind was instantly blown. I look forward to seeing her final work in a couple of week’s time.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


I had been struggling to catch up in the digital imaging processing. So far, I had several workshops and would like to wrap up as follows.

Week 3
Catalogue / Preference / White Balance Adjustment / Exposure Adjustment via Histogram

Week 4
Digital SLR set up:
Stop range / Adobe RGB / Flash

Week 5
Digital Work Flow:
Raw vs. Tiff & Jpeg / Colour Calibration / DPI vs. Pixel

Week 6
Histogram / Colour Setting / Layers / Copy & Paste / Transform / Mask / Retouch
Portraiture montage assignment (Chris + Silvio)

Week 7
Healing Brush / Cloning / Patch Tool / Liquidity Filter / Blur / Eraser / Luminance / Dodge
Retouch Sarah’s portraiture

Week 8
Film Scanning

I did a personal study by Total Training’s CS3 video.
Set up / Bridge / Camera Raw / Adjustment Layer / Smart Filter / Vanishing Point
Automation / B & W / Sharpening / Retouching / Channels

I felt I am still lagging behind not capable to do a lot of assignments, but due to time constraint, I have to go ahead with retouching of my Public/Private series.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


(Courtesy: Irving Penn)

(Courtesy: Gerhard Richter )

(Courtesy: Zoe Leonard)

I decided to take one day off as my gallery tour. I visited National Portrait Gallery and viewed Irving Penn show. Unlike other glamour portraiture photographer, his studio is full of unique props. There are threads, blanket covered table or bench, and the famous corner etc. His lighting is dramatic by always using sided contrasty system so the tonal effect is very rich and character stands out so overwhelmingly. He believed he could catch the spiritual inside world of sitters. His framing changed from half or full figure in 50-60’s to close-up in 70-80’s. The texture of skin, the intriguing eyes, different prop set up and beautiful dramatic lighting are outstanding. This reminds me of Gerhard Richter show in 2008 at NPG. I remember I was confused by his style. Gerhard believes portraiture is just portraiture, you can not tell much of the sitter’s inside simply by image, which is also quite intriguing.

I went to see Deutsche Borse Photography Prize show every year. As I started my intensive photography studies from late 2009, I was curious of my reaction of the show this year. The study makes the difference somehow, and I found all of the nominees’ work very conceptual engaging. I particularly like Zoe Leonard. Her works include a chronicler of the overlooked urban landscapes during the last 30 years especially shop facades. With the time factor, her work creates a deep and powerful feeling how the world we live daily has been experiencing constant change. Anna Fox’s snappy style on interesting daily subjects, Donovan Wylie’s formalism approach on Maze, and Sophie Ristelhueber’s conceptual Eleven Blowups are the strong impressions I had in general.

Monday, 1 March 2010


(Glass House Stores, London 2010)
People don’t show their inside naturally in public and they wear mask. Sometimes they want to get rid of mask, sometimes they get confused if they are wearing mask or not in public or in private, and sometimes they get bewildered which mask they need to go for as situation changes. Commercialisation and information technology revolution make this mask issue far reaching. People can utilise commercial product or IT technology to mask themselves perfectly. The purpose of masking is to protect their privacy but this might lead their loneliness. The private soul sometimes scream and would like to tear away the mask, but public ideology and personal habit make them not aware of the mask and they don’t know what is real face, what is mask or how to tear away. They stay at their privacy at home but still might end up with mask on the face…They are lost in public and private, lost in the world of masks.

My second theme for public and private is mask series. Tableau photography fascinates me all the time. I always dream to have a go but am not confident. I selected a few scenes such as public spaces like pub, crowd, arcade, shops and also decide to shoot the final one at a private home garden surrounded by tall office buildings. I choose a white mask prop to exaggerate the cold and silent ambience of the theme. The model is excellent. We shoot in public with pedestrians and everything on site. He just acted as planned sometimes with a little nice impromptu. Generally the shots are good, but as it was shot in public, there were lots of uncontrolled factors. I need to look at the shots several times before making further development.